Border agents from the Casa Grande Station found a truck containing about 3,300 pounds of marijuana Monday morning near the checkpoint on Federal Route 15.
According to Border Agent Colleen Agle, the weed was found when agents responded to suspected illegal activity in the area south of the Federal Route 15 checkpoint.
When agents got to the scene, no suspects were present. They had left their truck -- jam-packed with marijuana -- hidden in the brush under a tarp.
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Agle tells New Times that no arrests were made in the bust -- in fact, she says, no suspects were even seen near the stash because, when suspects realize they're being tracked by Border Patrol, they often "high-tail it" back across the border to Mexico.
We see a lot of big-time weed seizures where nobody gets arrested, and Agle's reasoning about the difficulties in arresting suspects in smuggling cases echoes a conversation we had Border Agent David Jimarez last month.
"The cartels always have the upper hand on us," Jimarez says. "They have scouts and whenever agents approach, the suspects already know we're coming."
Jimarez says when agents find a truck or large quantity of weed, they can't abandon it to track down suspects and often have to wait as long as 30 minutes before backup arrives.
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The slow response time, Jimarez says, is because of the huge area agents are responsible for patrolling.
The solution, Jimarez says, is something he calls "the proper mix" of technology, infrastructure (or in the words of John McCain "the danged fence"), and personnel.
We posted a poll last month asking readers if huge weed busts taking place near the border have made it any more difficult to find weed in Phoenix. While the poll was anything but scientific, the majority of respondents said no, but Jimarez points out that busts like these are important because the money that would be generated by selling the drugs -- in this case an estimated $2.7 million -- isn't making it to the streets.
"That's money that's not going to the cartels," he says.